High Bass 4th Interval

By Emmett Chapman, July 4, 1999 on Stickwire

© Emmett Chapman 1999

From: "Stick Enterprises, Inc.

Glad to hear Jason's "good news" posted to Stickwire about ordering a Grand Stick sometime this year. The "T" wood he refers to is tarara, as in "Tarara Boomdeyey" (phonetic spelling), a South American hardwood of rainbow colored grain on a brilliant yellow background. Though the song title hints at a use of this wood for drum building, I'd go more by personal complexion and wardrobe in choosing my wood.

As for tunings and string groupings, I can relate my own experiences. I started on Grand Stick in 1990 with a 7 melody plus 5 bass configuration, which I promoted along with the 6+6 version. I liked the extra low fourth on the melody side, and felt I didn't need the extra high bass fifth which seemed merely to be repetitive in voicing chords in the higher registers.

Then I discovered the power chord on the three highest bass strings, A-E-A, and switched to 6+6. It was the color and variety of jazz chords within easy grasp of the left hand that did it for me. I could add yet another layer (revived from my earlier jazz guitar days) onto the two handed string tapping technique. The all-fifths tuning works best for the basics in voicing chords, I feel, opening up the intervals, especially flatted fifths, perfect fifths, sixths and tenths for those keyboard type constructions. This new element added closer intervals just where I needed them most, in the high registers to add more colorful notes to the basic chords.

If I hadn't detuned my twelfth string down by a whole step to get this top fourth interval, I very likely would have gone back to ten strings by now, as the philosophy of minimum means has always been my guide in Stick design and refinements.

I hope this report helps Jason in making his decisions. Choosing your instrument is a little like dressing up for a party. How are you going to behave when you're there? If you can't decide, better to have two Sticks with different tunings (says the manufacturer).

To Jason and all who are interested in the instrument described above:

Happy Fourth with a Boom, Emmett.